L-citrulline is a naturally occurring amino acid (the compounds that make up a protein) found in food, we also synthesize it in the body, if we have enough amino acid precursors.
Our bodies change L-citrulline into another amino acid called L-arginine and also to nitric oxide that promotes vascular dilation which improves oxygen and blood circulation throughout your body; resulting in peak performance and faster recovery. L-Citrulline increases endurance recovery and reduces muscle fatigue.
According to Science Daily, a volunteer study revealed that blood levels of L-Arginine (created in the body from the L-Citrulline precursor) were 11% higher in volunteers that drank watermelon juice. Participants drank 24 ounces (that’s around 700ml) of fresh watermelon juice daily) The study then went on to increase the watermelon juice to 48 ounces (1.4L) for a additional 3 weeks resulting in a 18% L-Arginine rise.
Natural watermelon juice, watermelon juice enriched in L-citrulline and a control drink containing no L-citrulline, was tested on volunteers an hour before exercise. The study found both the natural juice and the enriched juice relieved muscle soreness in the volunteers. However L-citrulline in the natural juice (unpasteurized) was more bioavailable.
L-citrulline, as a precursor to L-Arginine, also helps to open up veins and arteries to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure.
L-citrulline is used for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, fatigue, muscle weakness, sickle cell disease, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, and diabetes. It is used for heart disease, body building, increasing energy, and for improving athletic performance.
Food sources of L-Citrulline include nuts, onion/garlic chick peas and Salmon. However Watermelon is regarded as the highest natural source of L-citrulline. In addition watermelon is full of vitamins A, B-6 and C, plus potassium, fiber and the antioxidant, lycopene. Other fruit sources of citrulline are cucumbers and other melons.
With summer approaching why don’t you ditch the chemical laden sports drinks and give Watermelon juice a try, you might be surprised!